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Non-Emergency Enquiries: 101

Identification Unit

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) Codes of Practice govern all aspects of Identification of a known or an unknown suspect.

Fingerprint formStaffordshire Police Identification (ID) Unit supports investigators by providing the means and expertise to undertake formal procedures of known suspects.

These procedures are designed to:

  • Test the witness' ability to identify the person they saw on a previous occasion.
  • Provide safeguards against mistaken identification.

All staff involved in call taking, response, investigation and file building are familiar with the legal requirements of Code D covering identification.


Where possible the ID Unit conducts video parade procedures using the VIPER (Video Identification Parade Electronic Recording) system. This system utilises filmed images of suspects recorded on a secure server to create a compilation of the suspect alongside at least eight other people of similar appearance. The other images are provided from a database of about 30,000 volunteers, meaning that the scope of appearances catered for is extensive. The unit also carries out procedures for other Forces using both VIPER and alternative parade systems e.g. PROMAT.

Witness viewing can take place at three locations however, for those witnesses unable to travel to any of the Identification Suites, the ID Unit have a mobile video camera and laptop computer so that viewing's can take place at witnesses' home addresses or other Police Stations if needed. Solicitors or representatives of the suspect are entitled to be present for the viewing's and this will be organised by the ID Unit.

All witness viewing procedures must be recorded.

Where it is not possible to conduct a video parade a number of other techniques can be used such as a physical ID parade where a witness would attend a police station to view a suspect alongside a number of volunteers with similar features.